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Luke Chapter MOAA

Jerry and Pam Wojtas at the Chapter Christmas Party 2018

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New and Improved Luke Chapter Website

On March 1, 2018 the Luke Chapter MOAA launched a new and improved website.  The new site has...
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Luke Chapter MOAA
Jerry Wojtas Feb2021

COL Jerry Wojtas, USA (Ret)

Memories of the Luke Chapter – MOAA
by COL Jerry Wojtas, USA (Ret)    Chapter President 2004-200

Pam and I moved to the Valley in the fall of 2000.  I joined the Luke Chapter in the spring of 2001.  At that time, we were called TROA, The Retired Officers Association.  Within a year National announced that the organization would be undergoing a name change, to MOAA, the Military Officers Association of America.  We were told no one should call us ‘MOAA’.  Instead, only the Military Officers Association of America.  That lasted about a month and in no time, everyone was calling us ‘MOAA’.  It was not a change that went over enthusiastically.  There were many members that hated the proposed change from TROA.  In hindsight, it was one of the best moves that National could have made.

During the summer, Chapter president Bob Baehler called and asked Pam and I to be greeters at the October dinner meeting.  We explained to Bob that we were brand new and had NEVER attended a chapter meeting.  Bob wouldn’t take no for an answer so when the chapter resumed meeting in the fall, Pam and I were welcoming people we had never met before.

A few months later I was asked to be treasurer of the chapter.  I accepted and my greeter duties came to an end.  Pam continued greeting guests, being joined by Betty Cross.  It seemed that it was difficult to fill the treasurer position, so I thought I’d be treasurer for life.  Imagine my surprise when incoming president Dick Weidner asked me to be his 1st VP.  I said yes, but explained to him that he would never be able to find a treasurer to replace me.  He stated that he already had!  It seemed that Ed Barranger, a treasurer from a few years ago, had agreed to fill that slot.  So, I became the chapter’s 1st VP, a job I held for two years.

The chapter was meeting at the old O’Club, which has since been leveled.  The club manager at that time was Paul Harvey, no relation to the radio personality.  Paul loved our members and we all loved Paul.  It was Paul that purchased our MOAA Luke Chapter flag which you see displayed at all meetings.  It was Paul who picked up the tab for the Champagne at our Christmas and New Year’s Eve dinner dances.

The chapter board meetings were held in the Tiki Lounge of the club.  It offered enough space for the 12 or so members who attended.

Once a month the club had a Membership Night that consisted of a buffet dinner that was compliments of the club.  Old timers will recall that Paul would hold a drawing for his mother’s wash clothes.  They were extremely popular and those who got one, cherished them.

All Luke Chapter members loved the club because it brought back memories of the clubs during our active-duty days in far off places with strange sounding names.  It was a way for us to stay close together with friends of like interests.

As the years progressed, little changes started to occur at the club.  The chargers were no longer used at the dinner service.  Then the Wing Commander decided he wanted the club on the night we reserved.  We had to move our event over to the NCO Club.  Later it became necessary to turn in a listing to base security of any persons attending who did not have a military ID card.  Then we were told that the ‘O’ Club had some plumbing issues and we would have to move our meetings to the NCO Club permanently.  Even here we ran afoul of the Wing Commander wanting the club on the date we had reserved.  We had to switch our date.  The quality of the meals started to deteriorate and members started to complain.  Finally, a vote of the membership was taken and a decision to move the dinner meeting to two different locations, PebbleCreek to the south and Grandview Terrace to the north, was made.  An era had come to an end.

The NCO Club became Club Five Six with two separate lounges, one for enlisted and one for officers.  It wasn’t quite the same as the old O’Club and it was not uncommon to find only one or two people in the officers’ lounge if you stopped in. The times they were a changing.  And they still are ….

 - Jerry Wojtas

Luke Chapter MOAA

Luke Chapter MOAA
Luke Chapter MOAA

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